E3 2016 – Microsoft Press Conference

MICROSOFT E3 2016

First press conference of E3 Day 1 starts of, like every year, with Microsoft. I’ll do a quick recap of the event and then discuss my impressions.

Xbox One S

The show starts off with a video package introducing the new Xbox One S (Slim). Slim design. 40% smaller than the Xbox One, integrated power supply and up to 2 TB internal storage. Also introducing a new controller with grippy back similar to the Elite controller.

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox comes out and announces the new Xbox One S, starting at $299 USD this August.

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Gears of War 4 + Xbox Play Anywhere

Rod Ferguson from The Coalition, creators of Gears of War 4.  Also at this time the big announcement of the night: Xbox Play Anywhere. With future Microsoft games, they will come out on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC simultaneous, and support Play Anywhere. Buy one copy of the game, and have it able to be played on Xbox and PC, shared game saves and achievements. Start up on the Xbox, and continue your game on the PC.Gears_of_War_4

Gears of War 4 will support cross-play across the XB1 and PC, in the campaign, co-op, multiplayer, and the new Hoard Mode 3.0.

Laura Bailey comes out and there is gameplay shown for Gears of War 4. The game has more physics based events, as this part of the campaign shows a nasty sand storm which is blowing walls and dead enemies around. Gorgeous visuals, new enemy types, new weather effects. At the end of the demo we are shown a quick scene with an older Marcus Fenix.

Game is getting released October 11th, and there is a new custom Gears Elite Controller. And as a special bonus, Killer Instinct will have a new playable fighter in General RAAM from Gears of War 1.


Forza Horizon 3

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Up next is the reveal of from Playground Games. New location in Australia which has a nice blend of desert, jungle, and urban cities. New addition to the series is water on the tracks. Similar to Forza 6‘s water physics. The campaign will now support 4 player co-op that have seamless drop-in. Release September 27th, 2016, and will be released on the Xbox One and Windows 10. Xbox Play Anywhere support.


Recore

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A new video package is shown for Recore, highlighting that different robots. “Forge friendships with Robots” The game looks really interesting, and seems to have a lot of heart.


Final Fantasy XV

A quick demo is shown for the upgraded combat that’s coming to Square Enix‘s Final Fantasy XV. Something can be said for these press conferences, and their perfect demo playthroughs, and how they might not be believable, and then there’s FF XV demo, which was clumsy. The fight took place against a Titan as the player fights his hand. The combat is fluid sure, but it looks a lot like button mashing, and dodge-rolls. Release Sept 30th, 2016. I’ve never played a FF game, and I don’t intend to start.


The Division

Up ahead of their own press conference, Ubisoft takes the stage to discuss The Division, and their upcoming premium DLC. The Underground expansion will have random generated missions with different varying enemy types and spawn areas. There’s only so much much randomness a mission can support, when the gameplay is just pointing a gun at people, and shooting. The DLC is available first on the Xbox One, June 28th.


Battlefield 1

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Patrick Back is up next from DICE to talk about the big game of the show: Battlefield 1. The new game looks incredible. This time around there is more intuitive destruction and random weather elements. The big reveal was during yesterday’s EA Press Conference, but they show the trailer again, and announce that EA Access will have early access to the game. play it first on the Xbox One Oct 13th, 2016.


Xbox Platform

Mike Ybarra comes out, Head of Platform Design, and talks about the Xbox system. They’re improving network reliability with more servers in more countries. They’re adding more backward compatible titles and opening up the system to more games that support Cross-Network play. Coming soon is Background Music (finally), and Cortana Digital Assistance.

Three new updates coming soon. CLUBS are coming to Xbox Live that allows yo to join communities of people that like the same games you do. Looking For Group (LFG), allows players to find people playing the same game to join up. And Arena, a new competitive tournament platform.


Minecraft

The Minecraft team is up next to talk about the game, and its latest updates. One big update is the Friendly Update, which allows iOS, Android, PC, and Xbox to all play Minecraft cross-platform, all over Xbox Live, with dedicated servers. John Carmack announces Minecraft VR. New texture packs that turn the mobs into aliens and agents, and texture turn the walls into cities. This Fall on PC, and next year on the Xbox and other devices.


New Controller

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New custom controllers are available in the Xbox Design Labs. Customize the controller’s colours however you like, and engrave it with your name or gamertag. Very neat. “You Design it, We Build it”


ID@Xbox

Inside, a new game from the creators of Limbo is shown. Looks dark and ominous, as you’d expect. Side-scroller again. A quick sizzle reel of the upcoming games being developed through ID@Xbox is shown, including games: Cuphead, Outlast, Deliver Us The Moon, Flint Hook, FAR, Slime Rancher, Shadow Tactics, The Culling, For The King, Beacon, Stardew, Hand of Fate 2, Below, Raiders, Bloodstained, Yooka-Laylee, Everspace.

We Happy Few is coming to Xbox Preview from Compulsion Games. Available July 26th. This game is very weird, and has a Bioshock feel. I’m excited to try this one out.

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Ark: Survival Evolved is also going to support Xbox Play Anywhere.


Gwent

CD Projekt Red hits the stage and talks about The Witcher 3, and how QWENT, the in-game card game, became very popular. So they’re announcing a stand-alone card game: GWENT. Single player campaign, with new cards and new abilities, and multiplayer. A beta will start in September.


Tekken 7

Bandai/Namco up next to reveal Tekken 7. Early 2017. A quick gameplay campaign trailer is shown to show how the story and campaign seamlessly transition into the fighting gameplay. Oh, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is now free on Xbox Live through Backwards Compatibility.


Dead Rising 4

A new game with a new holiday theme. New guns and a new area, and with weather elements. Coming out Holiday 2016. A nice reveal video is shown.


Scalebound

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Shannon Loftis comes out, from Microsoft Studios, to talk about Scalebound. Coming out in 2017, from Platinum Games. Hideki Kamiya hits the stage to introduce the latest gameplay video, which picks p from the Gamescon 2015 showcase last year, showing co-op gameplay of the player and his dragon taking on a big boss. Kamiya states that this is the biggest boss fight that Platinum Games has ever made. 4 dragons vs a large monster in an underground watery cave.


Sea of Thieves

From RARE, Craig Duncan hits the stage to talk about Sea of Thieves. They setup the gameplay video, showing three gameplay testing groups who had visited the studio. No tutorials were given to the groups, and they were dumped into the game and asked to play. The video showcased the ship against ship gameplay. Unannounced was how many people can be in your crew, but you have to steer and manage the ships, the sails, and load the cannons.


State of Decay 2

A quick video package for State of Decay 2 is revealed. New area is Turnbull County. And the game is going to be released next year, and now supports co-op, which is super exciting, and it’s lack of co-op is the only reason I stopped playing State of Decay 1.


Halo Wars 2

New reveal trailer for Halo Wars 2 showing the Covenant vs the Humans. This game is being made with the help of Creative Assembly. There is a new enemy type called The Banished. Released Feb 21st and supports the Xbox Play Anywhere. Beta is going on this weekend, and recently extended until Wednesday, June 22. The reveal is concluded with a multiplayer trailer.


Xbox Project Scorpio

Phil Spencer is out to conclude the show with the reveal of Project Scorpio, a new Xbox coming out holiday 2017 that is designed with 4K gaming in mind. Will support HDR and VR. All games will be compatible with the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Project Scorpio. Claimed to be the most powerful console on the market. 6 teraflops of power. Only intended for 4K TVs though.

A final sizzle reel closes the show.


A very good showing from Xbox during their media briefing.The reveal of the Slim and Project Scorpio is definitely unexpected. I hope that the closing with the Scorpio doesn’t prevent any sales of the Slim, as they’re far behind the PS4 in that department.

Halo Wars 2, State of Decay 2, We Happy Few, Battlefield 1, Recore, Gears of War 4,and Forza Horizon 3 have me the most excited.

-iRogan

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